14 innovations

Microbubbles for delivering drugs

If you take an oily solution, froth it into a bunch of tiny bubbles,and inject those into your bloodstream, when you hit them withultrasound a nearly perfect image of your internal organs will bounceback.
Since then, researchers have demonstrated that little bubbles haveanother use: delivering pharmaceutical payloads inside the body.Bubbles coated with specific molecules will selectively bind to certaincellular receptors. Once they're attached, a strong burst of ultrasoundis all that's needed to pop the bubbles and free what's inside.Delivering drugs directly to a tumor this way would allow for smallerdoses no more bombarding the whole body with radioactive material thereby radically reducing side effects. Gene therapy, which treatsgenetic diseases by using viruses to deliver DNA, could also be saferif the material were administered via microbubble. Both techniques arebeing tested on animals.

Source: wired.comAdded: 17 November 2006